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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 5

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1Then the just man will take his stand, full of assurance, to confront those who oppressed him and made light of his sufferings; 2at the sight of him there will be terror and confusion, and they will be astounded at his unforeseen deliverance. 3Remorseful, groaning and gasping for breath, they will say among themselves: ‘Was not this the man who was once our butt, a target for our contempt? 4Fools that we were, we held his way of life to be madness and his end dishonourable. 5To think he is now counted one of the sons of God and assigned a place of his own among God's people! 6How far we strayed from the way of truth! The lamp of justice never gave us light, the sun never rose on us. 7We roamed to our heart's content along the paths of wickedness and ruin, wandering through trackless deserts and ignoring the Lord's highway. 8What good has pride been to us? What can we show for all our vaunted wealth? 9All those things have passed like a shadow, like a messenger galloping by; 10like a ship that cleaves the surging sea and, when she has passed, not a trace is to be found, no wake from her keel in the waves; 11or as when a bird flies through the air, there is no sign of her passage, but with the stroke of her pinions she lashes the insubstantial breeze and parts it with the whirr and the rush of her beating wings, and so she passes through it, and thereafter it bears no mark of her assault; 12or as when a shaft is shot at a target, the air is parted and instantly closes up again and no one can tell where the arrow passed. 13So too with us, as soon as we were born we ceased to be; we had no token of virtue to show, and in our wickedness we frittered our lives away.’ 14The hope of the godless is like down flying on the wind, like spindrift swept before a storm, like smoke which the wind whirls away, transient like the memory of a guest who stayed but one day.

15But the just live for ever; their reward is in the Lord's keeping, and the Most High has them in his care. 16Therefore royal splendour will be theirs, and a fair diadem from the Lord himself; he will protect them with his right hand and shield them with his arm. 17He will array himself from head to foot with the armour of his wrath, and make all creation his weapon against his enemies. 18With the cuirass of justice on his breast, and on his head the helmet of inflexible judgement, 19he will take holiness for his invincible shield 20and sharpen his relentless anger for a sword; and his whole world will join him in the fight against his frenzied foes. 21The bolts of his lightning will fly straight upon the mark, they will leap upon the target as if his bow in the clouds were drawn in its full arc, 22and the artillery of his resentment will let fly a fury of hail. The waters of the sea will rage over them, and the rivers wash them relentlessly away; 23a great tempest will arise against them, and scatter them like chaff before a whirlwind. So lawlessness will make the whole world desolate, and evildoing will overturn the thrones of princes.

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